NEW PORTLAND — A fire of unknown origin destroyed a home on Carrabassett Road Saturday afternoon.

New Portland Fire Chief Kip Poulin said crews arrived on the scene around 4:30 p.m. Saturday after the house’s caretaker discovered the fire was fully developed. Poulin said the home, located at the intersection of Carrabassett and Chick roads, was unoccupied at the time, as it was owned by a family from Massachusetts. Poulin did not have the name of the family, but said they had left that morning, and he did not believe they were coming back to the house that night.

Poulin said the fire appears to have started in the basement, but did not know the cause. There were two wood stoves and a pellet stove on the first floor which were going, and Poulin said it was not clear if that was a contributing factor to the fire. The caretaker told responders he was tending the stoves, which is how he discovered the fire had started.

Poulin agreed it seemed strange to leave the stoves going when no one was in the house.

“It’s odd I guess. I don’t know if I’d say suspicious … But it definitely seems odd,” he said.

The Maine State Fire Marshal was called in along with crews from Kingfield, Strong, Anson and New Vineyard. Crews from Farmington and Carrabassett Valley also responded to assist New Portland, but had to respond to a different call in Eustis.

Poulin said the fire had been going “for a while” inside the building before crews arrived. They were only able to combat it from the outside because the fire had burned the floor inside, so firefighters couldn’t get inside. They eventually had to tear the building down with an excavator in order to put out the fire. Poulin said crews were at the scene from 4:30 p.m. until around midnight.

The house itself is visible from the road, but Poulin said it was fairly secluded with no other houses within eyesight.

“It spread to the rest of the house because we were only able to fight it from the outside,” Poulin said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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